B.C. government raises alarm by going after addresses of medicinal marijuana growers

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      Provincial law enforcement agencies appear to be pushing Health Canada to hand over the personal information of more than 16,500 British Columbians licensed to produce medicinal marijuana, a top pot advocate has warned.

      “The cops want to know who was growing marijuana so they can go knock on their doors,” said Dana Larsen, former campaign coordinator for the Sensible B.C. campaign to decriminalize cannabis. “Anybody who got involved in this program in good faith is, I’m sure, feeling pretty darn betrayed right now.”

      Larsen was speaking to the Straight about an September 2013 briefing note prepared for B.C. Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton.

      Though heavily redacted, the document lists a number of concerns the province has with medicinal marijuana regulation changes scheduled to take effect on April 1.

      Larsen characterized as most prominent law enforcement agencies’ wish for the federal government to share locations associated with the medicinal marijuana production licenses that are set to expire. (With the switch from the old rules to the Conservatives’ new Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulation, licence holders will only be allowed to purchase dried cannabis via mail order.)

      “Health Canada, citing privacy concerns, does not intend to disclose the addresses of former licensed grow operations once they are no longer permitted to legally grow marijuana,” the memo states, later emphasizing: “There is need for two-way information sharing between Health Canada and local governments, fire, and police to ensure that any criminal or safety concerns uncovered during inspections are communicated to the relevant body for follow-up.”

      The B.C. Ministry of Justice declined to make a representative available for an interview. According to an emailed statement sent by public affairs officer Niki Pandachuck, the province supports the regulatory changes; however, “There are concerns about the transition to the new regime.”

      “The ministry believes Health Canada should take steps to prevent the potential diversion of marijuana during and after that transition and to ensure production ceases at these locations,” the email reads.

      The briefing note was also reviewed by British Columbia Civil Liberties Association policy director Micheal Vonn. In a telephone interview, she told the Straight that despite the extent to which the report has been censored, there’s plenty left there that’s cause for alarm.

      “We have the Ministry of Justice of British Columbia claiming that it has legitimate concerns with Health Canada and refusing to disclose those to the public,” Vonn explained. “What is left in this document looks rather like the Ministry of Justice of British Columbia is itching to get into a witch hunt against disabled people.”

      She argued that the province should be assisting sick people through a regulatory change instead of helping criminalize access to a substance used to manage health conditions.

      “It is dismaying, to say the least, that the Ministry of Justice policing and security branch appears to be advocating for Health Canada to disclose patient lists in order to essentially expedite the horror show that is coming down the pipe for people who require these medications,” Vonn said.

      Comments

      18 Comments

      Disgusted

      Jan 10, 2014 at 2:45pm

      Why is this government so determined to focus on marijuana? For the love of God, there are kids killing themselves because of bullying on social media, there are numerous other crimes and abuses being leveled at the population for which the government and police do nothing. My friend had his boat stolen and called the police right away. They didn't come for hours and he was told they couldn't do anything, while if they would have come when he called, they might have been able to find the guy towing the boat down the street at 2 am. But, NO, lets use money and resources harassing sick people regarding a drug that's less harmful than alcohol because it's against our conservative morals! IDIOTS!!

      Cons are not for jobs

      Jan 10, 2014 at 4:16pm

      The feds are killing small business, JOBS that are done by urban agricultural specialists, infrastructure that took some time to establish as a result of the Cons' weird & perverted ideas about compassion and pain relief. They want to close mom & pop shops set up to help fellow citizens and kill all the spin off jobs that have been created as a result. There is no way people are going to want to order their weed through the mail from someone they may not trust, such a stupid solution. Dear Disgusted, you have hit the nail on the head! IDIOTS!! We should be promoting local business as opposed to stopping it. Revenues would stay local instead of going to companies that have done a less than stellar job (we all know which company THAT one is).
      What's the latest US headline? $5 million in sales in the first week...http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/08/marijuana-sales-colorado_n_4552...

      Harper & Co. should step down as they continue to bungle, bungle, bungle...

      Joey

      Jan 10, 2014 at 5:19pm

      Wow, never thought I'd see the day when Americans were laughing at US for our police state tactics.

      Johnny Wishbone

      Jan 10, 2014 at 7:13pm

      A classic bait and switch tactic. Dreadful and clearly been done by design.

      awesomesound

      Jan 11, 2014 at 7:54am

      Knock on my door as long as you want, but they need a Warrent to come in will there be any Judges In Canada that will issue one on a person that doesn't even have a parking ticket? this pratice can not be good in a election year.

      CharlieR

      Jan 11, 2014 at 8:09am

      Really? The cops NOW want to busy themselves with chasing down SICK PATIENTS, all because Health Canada never saw fit to fulfill their mandate of 'inspections' in the first place with MMAR? Sure, blame the patients for 'diversion' of a plant that heals and has never killed one soul in 5,000 yrs of use. LOW HANGING FRUIT for lazy cops that just can't seem to do their REAL JOB and search and catch VIOLENT CRIMINALS.

      Gotcha

      Jan 11, 2014 at 10:05am

      Kinda smacks of Nazi Germany having the Jewish population in the mid 1930's register with local government to insure their own protection. But in this case exploiting the greed associated with the business was a brilliant tactic by Stephen. April first. Licensed fools day.

      David Stewart

      Jan 11, 2014 at 2:53pm

      Watch the CONServatives double down on prohibition as we witness its death throes and theirs. Prime Minister Trudeau will step in and fix the mess while the CPC squirms!

      Squirm CPC squirm!

      marc

      Jan 13, 2014 at 9:14am

      Ya seems really funny this crap all my American friends are having a field day laughing at us and making fun of us we look like the world stage clowns